Top Crypto News – 09/01/2018

South Korea to Cooperate with China and Japan on Regulation


South Korean regulators are seeking cooperation with counterparts from Beijing and Tokyo to address cryptocurrency speculation. Six commercial banks have been targeted by Seoul authorities inspecting crypto trading. Korean experience is to help a possible trilateral approach to regulation.

“Trial-And-Error” to Shape the Efforts

The Financial Services Commission of South Korea will be deepening cooperation with agencies from China and Japan in curbing speculative transactions. Deputy finance ministers from the Asian countries have already exchanged ideas last month, FSC’s chairman Choi Jong-ku revealed during a press conference. Seoul aims to “set up a detailed system of cooperation” with Beijing and Tokyo, Choi said, quoted by Yonhap News Agency. The nation’s top financial regulator briefed media about the bank inspection that will run through Thursday with the participation of the Korean Financial Intelligence Unit. He warned against what he called an “irrational trend” of investing in cryptocurrencies, noting the “ongoing fever of speculative investment”.

South Korea to Cooperate with China and Japan on Regulation
Choi Jong-ku

In Choi’s words cryptocurrencies are unable to play a role as a means of payment. “A virtual currency only triggers side effects”, the regulator educated reporters. Fraud, illegal fundraising, hacking, speculation and manipulation of market prices were mentioned in a long list. The government official left the door open to shutting down all cryptocurrency-linked businesses to minimize the aforementioned effects, according to the Korean Herald. Choi Jong-ku said the world was facing a “policy challenge pandemic” and added that Korea’s “trial-and-error” experience can help shape trilateral efforts to implement regulations.

Trust, but Verify the “Gatekeepers”

South Korea’s financial regulator is currently conducting inspections in six commercial banks, including Woori, Kookmin and Shinhan. Accounts of cryptocurrency traders have been targeted. Last month authorities ordered banks to stop issuing the so called “virtual accounts” used by cryptocurrency exchanges to manage their clients’ money. A new system to end anonymous trading and enforce real name identity verification on traders is to be implemented by the end of January.

South Korea to Cooperate with China and Japan on RegulationThe head of the FSC issued another warning in that respect: “Virtual currency transactions are highly susceptible to money laundering”, because of their anonymity, he said. Choi Jong-ku appealed to banks to act as “gatekeepers” when monitoring crypto-related transactions. He shared his concerns that they had remained silent about money flows for illegal uses. The ongoing investigation is supposed to determine if the banks have detected money laundering and non-real-name transactions, as they are required by law.

The Korean official complained that all regulators could do within the present legal framework was to order inspections. Choi also noted that filling the regulatory vacuum would take time. Korean authorities are planning to impose stricter requirements for exchanges. Tougher sanctions for cryptocurrency related crimes are also on the way in a country that hosts some of the biggest providers of crypto exchange service. But strong measures against illicit acts will be enforced even before the legislation is revised, the regulator vowed, quoted by KBS Radio.

The exact sanctions that might be imposed on banks and exchanges remain unclear. Suspending virtual account services seems to be the only step authorities can take now and the FSC’s chairman confirmed that. Such accounts will be closed if inspectors uncover any illegal activities. Choi declined to comment on the new plans to tax cryptocurrency transactions and sanctions for tax evasion.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and FSC.
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Nvidia Curbs Data Center GPU Use – But Crypto Miners Are Excluded


GPU maker Nvidia has tweaked its software license agreement to limit the use of its products by data centers – unless they’re mining cryptocurrencies.

An update to the company’s license agreement emphasizes that the drivers which allow computers to work with the GeForce or Titan chips cannot be used in data centers unless they are being used for “blockchain processing” tasks.

It states:

“No Datacenter Deployment. The [software] is not licensed for datacenter deployment, except that blockchain processing in a datacenter is permitted.”

That phrase is a stand-in for the more commonly used term “mining”, or the energy-intensive process by which new transactions are added to a blockchain. Nvidia’s graphics card products – along with those from rival chip maker AMD – have been highly sought by miners in recent months, as previously reported.

The boost in demand has been significant for chip manufacturers, with Nvidia, in particular, posting $2.23 billion in revenue after the second quarter in 2017. That marked a 56% jump from the previous year, with the company seeing $280 million more in profits than was projected during that time period.

Without permission from the manufacturer, companies must use Nvidia’s more expensive enterprise-level products for other data center applications like running artificial intelligence tests. The price gap is significant – while a GeForce card is in the $700s range, the enterprise-level product, the Tesla V100, runs for just under $10,000.

According to The Register, a Nvidia spokesperson pointed out that the GeForce and Titan GPUs were designed for individual customers, not for large companies to use in a constantly-operating data center.

GeForce chip image via Rugged Studio / Shutterstock
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Is Bitpay Bullying Other Bitcoin Wallets and Hurting Users’ Privacy?


Bitpay is facing a backlash against its decision to implement a controversial feature it says is meant to protect bitcoin users. The leading payment processor is accused of abusing its dominant position to bully wallet providers into supporting its plans, degrading users’ privacy and hurting the use of bitcoin altogether.

Bitpay Power Play

Is Bitpay Bullying Other Bitcoin Wallets and Hurting Users' Privacy?Bitpay, the digital asset service provider based in Atlanta, Georgia, is coming under attack for a recent protocol change. As we reported at the time, only a handful of other wallets currently support BIP70 and its implementation is controversial. Meant to prevent main-in-the-middle attacks by using QR codes, critics fear BIP70 introduces legacy public-key infrastructure dependencies and its widespread implementation will create an increased risk of AML/KYC surveillance and monitoring of transactions.

Founded in May 2011 by Tony Gallippi and Stephen Pair, Bitpay is widely considered to be the largest bitcoin payment processor in the world today. The company is accused of leveraging this power to coerce bitcoin wallet developers to support its position or be left out of reach for many merchants.

The developers of the privacy-centric bitcoin wallet, Samourai, commented: “Users should stand up to this kind of arrogance and stand up for their privacy. Samourai has already started the process of contacting all vendors we rely on who utilize BitPay as a payment processor and informing them of our intention to switch vendors, as using Bitpay is no longer tolerable or feasible. We hope others join us.”

BIP70 Instead of Segwit

Is Bitpay Bullying Other Bitcoin Wallets and Hurting Users' Privacy?The move was also criticized by bitcoin core developers for adopting BIP70 over segwit. The company didn’t need more negative feedback at this time as Bitpay was already under a lot of public pressure over its recent actions like limiting BTC transaction to $100 minimum and quickly backtracking and stopping all non-US credit cards.

The Samourai team added: “We absolutely do not support Bitpay in agressively using their dominant position of market share to bully wallet providers into supporting their business plans or bully users into a system that degrades their privacy and the fungibility of bitcoin as a whole. Bitpay should focus on repairing their image and brand after the cataclysmic failure of the Segwit2x Fork they helped architect, instead of reinforcing their image as an out of touch bully looking to hijack the network for their own gain.”

Is Bitpay abusing its power or just looking out for its users? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Markets Update: Exchange News from South Korea Brings the Bitcoin Bears


Cryptocurrency prices are sliding downwards since our last markets update, as the top ten digital assets are all seeing a loss of gains on January 8. BTC/USD markets reached a high of $17,200 on Saturday evening on January 6, but the value has dropped since then to a low of $13,900 per BTC. The price has since rebounded and is hovering between $14,800-$15,050 during this afternoon’s trading sessions. 

FUD from South Korea and Coinmarketcap Data Brings a Price Storm

Bitcoin markets have seen a two-day decline since reaching its high of $17,200 this past Saturday. Yesterday afternoon the decentralized currency hovered just above the $16K zone, dipping to the $15,800 range a few times. On Monday, January 8, the price of BTC has sunk further taking most other digital asset markets with it. During the early trading sessions, (EDT) bitcoin prices touched $13,900 with around $15.8Bn in 24-hour trade volume. Many traders and cryptocurrency enthusiasts are blaming this week’s tumble on South Korea and its officials inspecting local banks tied to digital asset trading platforms.

Coinmarketcap excludes South Korean exchange prices from its aggregated global average.
Markets Update: Exchange News from South Korea Brings the Bitcoin Bears
Bithumb and other Korean exchanges have one asterisk explaining the exchange’s price is excluded from data.

Today the U.S. dollar is the top currency traded with BTC commanding 37 percent at the time of writing. This is followed by the Japanese yen (35%), tether (USDT 9%), and the South Korean won has dropped considerably to 4.7 percent. A few days ago when markets were more bullish, tether USDTs were averaging approximately $1, but since today’s dip, USDT is now $1.02. Additionally, tether has the third highest digital currency volume worldwide at the moment which happens consistently during dips.

Another thing to note is the cryptocurrency website Coinmarketcap has dropped South Korean exchanges from its aggregated global price averages. The website has left an asterisk next to each price that states “* Price Excluded.” Coinmarketcap dropping South Korean exchanges has made the website’s price data fall by over 100 billion, as the total valuation of all markets is only $721Bn after reaching a high of $850Bn.

Markets Update: Exchange News from South Korea Brings the Bitcoin Bears
The most-traded nation-state issued currency traded against BTC is the USD, while the top cryptocurrency traded with BTC today is ETH.

Technical Indicators

Looking at the charts shows bitcoin core markets have dropped several legs down since yesterday evening’s trading sessions. During our last report, the two Simple Moving Averages has a nice gap between the 100 SMA and 200 SMA. Today things are changing as it looks like the two trend lines may cross hairs soon. This indicates there is more substantial resistance towards the path to the upside and sellers are in control. 12 hours ago RSI and Stochastic levels were showing overbought conditions but both oscillators are leveling out at the moment.

Bulls could quickly rebound from the current vantage point as order books show there’s not much resistance ahead but new positions are filling up. Look for more extended pit stops in the $15,300-15,700 territory. On the back side, there is plenty of foundational support in the $14,000-$13,800 range if bears managed to cause a more extensive market sell-off.

Markets Update: Exchange News from South Korea Brings the Bitcoin Bears
At press time the price per BTC is between $14,800-15,050 USD.

Overall Most Digital Currency Markets Are Seeing Deep Losses

Digital asset markets, in general, are all in the red seeing deep percentage losses today. Ethereum (ETH) has repositioned itself as the second highest market cap but markets are down 2.2 percent. One ETH is averaging $1,089 today after the currency hit an all-time high above $1,200. Ripple (XRP) markets are down significantly as XRP has lost its $3.40 price high. XRP’s price is under by 28 percent and the global average per token is $2.40. Bitcoin cash (BCH) prices are also dipping as the price per BCH has lost 18 percent. One BCH is roughly around $2,398 and markets are seeing $1.2Bn in global trade volume. Lastly, the fifth largest market valuation is still Cardano (ADA), but its prices are down 15 percent. ADA prices are averaging around $0.86 at press time. Additionally, the most traded digital currency pairs on the swapping platforms Shapeshift and Changelly is BTC/ETH by a landslide.

Markets Update: Exchange News from South Korea Brings the Bitcoin Bears
The top ten cryptocurrencies are all in red on January 8, and Coinmarketcap prices are lower than usual after excluding South Korean prices.

Bear Scenario: Bears currently reign the market right now and have managed to utilize the South Korean rumors coupled with fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD). If panic selling continues, the price could tumble below the $13.6K range. Watch for the Displaced Moving Average (DMA) to break $13,600 for some lower scalps.

Bull Scenario: Bulls have some work to do to get back well above $15K and $16K price territories. There’s some good size sell walls throughout these positions, but order books show it’s still manageable for a considerable rebound to take place. At the moment, long positions and big players are stepping off to the sidelines waiting for a better entry point.

Where do you see the price of bitcoin and other digital assets heading from here? Do you think cryptocurrencies will see more gains? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixabay, Shapeshift, Coinmarketcap, Reddit, and Bitstamp.

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